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The University of Southampton

SPAN2006 High, Popular and Mass Culture in Modern Spain

Module Overview

This course will examine high, popular and mass cultural forms in twentieth century Spain and Latin America. It will discuss notions of mass reproduction and its cultural consequences for cultural form and audience response, including the appropriation of mass culture under postmodernity.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Introduce you to a range of high, popular, mass and globalised cultural texts, including fiction, poetry, film, photography and prints; • Build on the introduction to texts from high, popular, mass and globalised culture given in the first year SPLAS and ML cultural studies modules; • Introduce you to a set of theoretical frameworks for thinking about the specificity of high, popular , mass, globalised and hybrid culture as well as their interrelationship; • Explore the operations of canon formation and its exclusions; • Encourage you to debate issues of cultural theory and develop their own interpretations; • Deepen your appreciation of the cultural variety of the Spanish speaking world; • Introduce you to the ways in which modernity and post modernity have impacted on the relations between high, popular, mass, globalised and hybridy culture, thus preparing you for debates that will be taken up in final year SPLAS modules; • Develop your skills in oral presentation and academic writing, and introduce them to independent research.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Theories of high, popular, mass culture and more recent ones in context of globalisation and hybridity
  • A range of high, popular, mass, hybrid/ globalised cultural texts in different media
  • Techniques for analysing a variety of cultural forms
  • An appreciation of the different modes of response of audiences of high, popular, mass/ globalised and hybrid culture
  • Issues of Spanish and Latin American cultural development and cultural management
Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Assess different theories of high, popular and mass culture as well recent debates on hybridity/globalisation
  • Critically evaluate existing interpretations of the material studied
  • Think critically about different kinds of audience response
  • Analyse the relationship and interaction that existed between high, popular and mass culture during the twentieth and twenty-first century
  • Develop independent learning strategies
  • Conduct independent research, thus obtaining training in the research required for the residence abroad investigative project
  • Understand a range of theoretical approaches and apply them to the material covered


This module examines high, popular and mass cultural forms in twentieth century Spain and Latin America. Attention is particularly paid to the political uses made of those different forms. The module explores the function of popular culture in predominantly rural societies where literacy is low, and the co-option of selective aspects of popular culture for high-cultural purposes. It discusses notions of mass reproduction and its cultural consequences for cultural form and audience response, including the appropriation of mass culture under post modernity and as developed in Cultural Studies. Recent developments in the field of Cultural Studies will also include notions of globalisation and cultural hybridity. This module will explore how the processes by which certain texts are incorporated into the high-cultural canon, paying attention to texts which have been read both as popular culture and as high culture. Material studied includes theoretical writings on high, popular and mass culture, as well as notions of cultural hybridity and globalisation; popular prints; photography; popular music; popular cinema; fiction.

Special Features

Students from different study programmes and with different interests could be attracted to this module as it covers a rich variety and range of materials: theoretical writing, film, poetry, novels, photography and prints

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Following an introduction to theories of high, popular, mass culture, hybridity and globalisaton, the lectures will introduce you to a wide range of cultural expressions from Spain and Latin America. In the seminars, you will be expected to relate the theory to that material, and develop their own analyses. The oral presentation requires you to research a small project, to present their analysis lucidly to their peers, and to clarify and support points in the discussion that follows. The essays seek to test your grasp of the theoretical and analytical issues raised, their capacity for independent research, and their academic writing skills. The essays require you to demonstrate your knowledge of the material covered and their ability to address questions raised about the issues discussed and to develop their own analysis. Teaching methods include: • Lectures • Seminars (including compulsory student presentations and group discussion) Learning activities include: • Close reading and analysis of varied forms of cultural expression • Debating in class theoretical issues and differing interpretations of the texts • Constructing arguments for presentation orally and in written work • Independent research and study

Independent Study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Homi Bhabha. The Location of Culture (a difficult book but a foundational text of postcolonial theory; the chapter on stereotypes is especially useful). 

Shaw, Debra (2017). Transnational Cinemas: Mapping a field of study - for the Routledge Companion to World Cinema, edited by Rob Stone, Paul Cooke, Stephanie Dennison & Alex Marlow-Mann. 

Raab, Josef, and Martin Butler, eds (2008). Hybrid Americas: Contacts, Contrasts, and Confluences in New World Literatures and Cultures. 

Imagined Communities (1991). Imagined Communities. 

Strinati, Dominic (1995). An Introduction to Theories of Popular Culture. 

Online resource.

Fredric Jameson and Masao Miyoshi (eds) (1998). The Cultures of Globalization. 

Storey, John (ed), (1994). Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: a Reader. 

An Introductory Guide to Cultural Theory and Popular Culture. 

Canclini, Nestor García (1995). Hybrid Cultures: Strategies for Entering and Leaving Modernity globalización. 

Online resource.

Burke, Peter (2009). Cultural Hybridity. 

Huyssen, Andreas. After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass culture, Postmodernism. 

William Rowe and Vivian Schelling (1991). Memory and Modernity: Popular Culture in Latin America. 


Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback • Participation in seminar discussion; • Preparation for seminar presentation and two essays.


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2000 words) 45%
Essay  (2000 words) 45%
Seminar presentation 10%


MethodPercentage contribution
Summative assessments 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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